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[sleev] /sliv/
the part of a garment that covers the arm, varying in form and length but commonly tubular.
an envelope, usually of paper, for protecting a phonograph record.
Machinery. a tubular piece, as of metal, fitting over a rod or the like.
verb (used with object), sleeved, sleeving.
to furnish with sleeves.
Machinery. to fit with a sleeve; join or fasten by means of a sleeve.
have something up one's sleeve, to have a secret plan, scheme, opinion, or the like:
I could tell by her sly look that she had something up her sleeve.
laugh up / in one's sleeve, to be secretly amused or contemptuous; laugh inwardly:
to laugh up one's sleeve at someone's affectations.
before 950; Middle English sleve, Old English slēfe (Anglian), slīefe; akin to Dutch sloof apron
Related forms
sleevelike, adjective
unsleeved, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sleeves
  • Right now it's time to roll up my sleeves and get back to work.
  • They also have colorful robes with long, graceful sleeves.
  • Moisture doesn't escape from the sleeves, so you might want to wear a long sleeved inner layer.
  • The sleeves of his camouflage shirt are cut off and his combat boots are untied.
  • Yes, the sleeves are recyclable, but that still takes a lot of energy to do.
  • To put the sleeves back on, there's no need to try to line everything up carefully.
  • Computerized sleeves may soon allow manufacturing bosses to monitor and record workers' moves and mine them for efficiency data.
  • He was not afraid to roll up his sleeves, confront his opponents and court unpopularity.
  • Whether it would be the last one up the engineers' sleeves, as the single-atom limit looms, remains to be seen.
  • When it doesn't, well, you roll up your sleeves and try again elsewhere.
British Dictionary definitions for sleeves


the part of a garment covering the arm
a tubular piece that is forced or shrunk into a cylindrical bore to reduce the diameter of the bore or to line it with a different material; liner
a tube fitted externally over two cylindrical parts in order to join them; bush
a flat cardboard or plastic container to protect a gramophone record US name jacket
roll up one's sleeves, to prepare oneself for work, a fight, etc
up one's sleeve, secretly ready
(transitive) to provide with a sleeve or sleeves
Derived Forms
sleeveless, adjective
sleevelike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English slīf, slēf; related to Dutch sloof apron
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sleeves



Old English sliefe (West Saxon), slefe (Mercian) "arm-covering part of a garment," probably literally "that into which the arm slips," from Proto-Germanic *slaubjon (cf. Middle Low German sloven "to dress carelessly," Old High German sloufen "to put on or off"). Related to Old English slefan, sliefan "to slip on (clothes)" and slupan "to slip, glide," from PIE root *sleubh- "to slide, slip."

Cf. slipper, Old English slefescoh "slipper," slip (n.) "woman's garment," and expression to slip into "to dress in"). Mechanical sense is attested from 1864. To have something up one's sleeve is recorded from c.1500 (large sleeves formerly doubled as pockets). Meaning "the English Channel" translates French La Manche.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sleeves



Advancement without much effort; an easy task or accomplishment: Getting the contract was a sleepwalk

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with sleeves
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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